U.S. Advertising Slips 3% In December, Digital Slows

U.S advertising dipped 3% in December due to a slowdown in the growth of digital media. The results came from UBS Securities by way of a report from Standard Media Index, which also said that fourth-quarter 2017 was up 1% over the same period a year ago.

In the last month of the year, digital media had a slower 3.8% hike, down from 14.1% growth in November. For 2017 as a whole, digital saw a 10% increase versus the year before.

At the same time, national TV’ had worsening declines -- to a 7% drop in the last month of the year from November’s 2% slip. For the fourth quarter, national TV fell 4%.

This was preceded by a 13% drop in the third quarter, largely due to unfavorable comparisons to the Summer Olympics in the same period in 2016. (UBS says all national TV advertising results also include digital TV ad revenues.)

At the same time, for TV, UBS says these results came along with higher scatter pricing for TV networks in both the third quarter and fourth quarter of 2017.



“We believe pricing is driven primarily by supply constraints (versus advertiser demand), with fourth-quarter C3 ratings [Nielsen average commercial minute ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing] declining for all network groups in our coverage -- with [double-digit percentage] declines at most network groups,” writes Eric Sheridan, media analyst at UBS.

U.S. advertising for 2017 witnessed a 3% increase in the first quarter, followed by another 3% rise in the second. There was a 4% drop in the third quarter (due to the Summer Olympics in the same period in 2016), and a 1% hike in the fourth quarter.

SMI data comes from major national TV media agency systems, representing 80% of U.S. media buying.

2 comments about "U.S. Advertising Slips 3% In December, Digital Slows".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 22, 2018 at 8:19 a.m.

    Wayne all of this headline grabbing stuff about "declines" is comparing apples with oranges. This is especially the case when TV spending was artificially inflated in 2016 by Olympic dollars which would not normally go to traditional TV buys. The only fair way to "track"TV spending is to do so on a long term basis, which evens out the aytipical situations and presents a more informative picture. Actually, TV spending for regular branding campaigns is up, not down. Last but not least, the digiatl "ad dollars" stats are very heavily loaded with search, DR and other types of activities not normally found on TV.

  2. Michael Pursel from Pursel Advertising, January 22, 2018 at 12:25 p.m.

    That's a great observation Ed. I've always thought that numbers are like bikinis. What they reveal is very enticing but what they cover up is vital. Unfortunately your explanation does not further the digital is better narrative.  On a local level, traditional TV is still working well for the 40+ market, the consumers that have money to spend.  Are younger eyes and ears moving to other avenues of delivery?  of course.  But to read some of the posts, you would think the only people watching traditonal TV anymore are over 80, in the ICU on life support.

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